Today’s Boston Globe has an in-depth study of the state of
minority hiring in NCAA-affiliated football programs (http://www.boston.com/sports/colleges/football/articles/2006/09/21/few_minorities_get_the_reins_in_college_football/).
As Bob Hohler notes, the numbers are bleak:
“The statistics are staggering, both nationally and in New England. Of 616 football teams affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, only 16, or 2.6 percent, are guided by African-American head coaches, even though an estimated 19,667, or 32.7 percent, of the players last year were black, according to an NCAA survey (the figures exclude historically black colleges and universities).
The landscape is even grimmer in New England, where all but one of the 54 head coaches for NCAA football teams are white, according to a Globe survey. The lone minority is Mel Mills, a former Arena Football League player who has taken over a fledgling Division 3 team at Becker College in Leicester that went winless last year in its inaugural season.”
Among the explanations offered for this on-going state of affairs is the “old boy” network:
“The ‘old boy’ system, as described by diversity specialists, generally involves white administrators hiring white coaches who are considered acceptable to deep-pocketed boosters and alumni with political influence. In New England, 16 NCAA football programs have no minorities among their athletic directors, head coaches, and assistant coaches.”
In a separate piece under the same heading, Hohler notes that since the NFL adopted the Rooney Rule in 2003, mandating that teams at least interview a minority candidate when there’s an opening, the number of Black head coaches has jumped from three to seven. The requirement may be a way to circumvent the old-boy network problem (http://www.boston.com/sports/colleges/football/articles/2006/09/21/rooney_rule_cited_for_its_effectiveness/):
"'It may lead to some bogus interviews, but I think it's been proven in the NFL that when [minority] candidates are brought into the room under any circumstances they have surprised some people and gotten a real shot at a job,’ said Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.”
Aside: It remains a major source of head-scratching that it took Marvin Lewis so long to get a head coaching job.
Hohler also penned a moving profile of MacDaniel Singleton (http://www.boston.com/sports/colleges/football/articles/2006/09/21/singleton_conquered_racial_hostility_in_75/):
“As racial tensions roiled the city during the busing crisis in 1975, Boston State College made a bold decision. School officials named an African-American, MacDaniel Singleton, their head football coach, breaking a color barrier in the modern era of New England college football.
The move proved visionary, as Singleton united a diverse band of players from the city's toughest corners, led them to a conference title, and taught them enduring lessons about racial harmony.
`At a time when there was a big barrier between black and white in Boston, we loved each other like brothers and it was because of Mac,’ said Bill Joyce, who is white and a probation officer at West Roxbury District Court. ‘He was like a father to us. We loved the guy.’
When an African-American threatened Joyce with a knife during an altercation at school, Earl Garrett, a black assistant coach who had starred for Boston State the previous year, thrust himself in front of Joyce, prompting the assailant to retreat.
‘There was no place for racial differences on our team,’ said Garrett, who teaches and coaches at West Roxbury High School. ‘Mac just wouldn't accept it.’"
Great work by Hohler and the Globe.